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Heart River tops New England

Neither Heart River nor New England could buy a bucket until the fourth quarter Friday night. Even then, only the Cougars were getting shots to fall. Heart River went on a 10-point tear to quell the Tigers' third-quarter comeback and pull away fo...

Neither Heart River nor New England could buy a bucket until the fourth quarter Friday night.

Even then, only the Cougars were getting shots to fall.

Heart River went on a 10-point tear to quell the Tigers' third-quarter comeback and pull away for a 36-22 District 13 boys basketball victory at the New England High School gymnasium.

"It's good to come out 1-0 in the district," said Heart River junior James Duletski.

Duletski led the Cougars with 12 points but had a little help from juniors Jimmy Smith and Devon Schmeling in the fourth.

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After New England senior guard Skylar Schaefer scored the final eight points of the third quarter to cut the Cougars' lead to 22-18, Heart River's junior trio erupted.

Schmeling scored all five of his points in a span of 15 seconds when he hit a 3-pointer and had a layup to start the Cougars' run. Smith added a free throw and a put-back layup and Duletski put Heart River ahead for good, 32-18, with a put back of his own missed layup with 4:53 remaining.

"The boys were patient tonight, they took care of the ball," Heart River coach Craig Olson said.

Duletski scored the final six points of the second quarter and opened the third with a jumper to give the Cougars a 20-8 advantage.

The 6-foot-1 forward said getting inside shots was the key.

"Whatever shots we did take were inside and they fell," Duletski said.

Both teams struggled from the field. While Heart River shot 34 percent, New England connected on just 21 percent of their shots and had 21 turnovers.

Schaefer led all scorers with 15 points and added five blocks.

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Tigers coach Dan Conner, who coached at Belfield - half of the Heart River co-op - the past two seasons, was unimpressed with his team's ability to hold onto the basketball and strike when the iron is hot.

"Our biggest problem tonight was poor passing decisions when we got into our offense," Conner said.

Olson hoped to get the Cougars' uptempo offense going early, but credited the Tigers with slowing the pace.

Duletski said it didn't matter to him whether the pace was fast or slow.

"If it's a win, I'll take a win," Duletski said. "The score doesn't matter, as long as we're on top in the end."

Heart River 36, New England 22

HR 8 18 22 36

NE 4 8 18 22

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HR: James Duletski 12, Jimmy Smith 11, Devon Schmeling 5, Cody Koppenstein 4, Ethan Rodne 2, Tayler Landis 2.

NE: Skylar Schaefer 14, Trevor Buzalsky 4, Daniel Binstock 2, Avery Krebs 2.

3-pointers: Schmeling, Schaefer. Free throws: HR 1-4, NE 7-8. Total fouls: HR 10, NE 10. Rebounds: HR 22 (Corey Wilhelm 8), NE 30 (Schmeling 12). Steals: HR 11 (Allen Hecker 3), NE 15 (Duletski 5). Turnovers: HR 21, NE 18. Records: HR 3-2, NE 2-3.

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